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Individual vs. Corporation Trademark Registration

Create Time 2017-07-05 03:07    Views:206

          As part of the trademark filing process, the applicant or a trademark attorney must provide details about the trademark’s legal owner. In this post, we will help to outline the difference between filing a trademark using one’s own name or the company name.  

          Trademark owners can take on a variety of entities – individuals, corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trusts, and many others. Generally, the individual or company that uses the mark should be the legal owner, unless trademark rights were sold or transferred to another entity. The trademark owner has the sole power to enforce rights under that trademark.

So, if you want to register a trademark that’s being used by your company, should you file it under your name or your company’s name? The rest of the post will explore the implications of choosing either option.

Registering trademark under a company

         It is consistent with the usage of the trademark. As mentioned above, the entity that uses the trademark should be the owner. A trademark registration may be invalidated if the owner does not control the goods or services under the trademark that’s being provided.

         It adds value to the company. We mentioned in a previous post that the trademark is an important asset to a company. Since a trademark’s value is also quantifiable, registering a trademark under a corporation directly adds this value to the company. Because of its quantifiable nature, trademarks can be used as security interests in financial transactions and can give the company that possesses the mark an advantage in business negotiations.

        The business can better enforce the trademark rights. In 2013, a court ruled that companies cannot claim infringement if the mark was not owned by the company itself. In this specific case, the mark was registered under the company’s sole shareholder. Because enforcement of trademark rights lies solely with the owner, the sole shareholder would have to present themselves in court to enforce the registration.

Registering trademark under an individual

         If the company goes bankrupt, control of the trademark is not lost. Under bankruptcy laws, the company’s assets (including trademarks) must be sold off or transferred. However, this could be avoided if the company never owned a trademark. Additionally, if the original owners of the company are concerned about losing control of the company in the future (for example, with the addition of shareholders), they could also register the trademark under an individual.

         The individual could be held personally liable in litigation cases. This is because the individual owns the trademark. If the company had registered the mark instead, no one associated with the company will be implicated.

          In summary, deciding who the legal owner of your trademark should depend on a variety of factors. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you need assistance making this decision, Witmart can help you – anything that’s done should be done correctly from the beginning. We are just one phone call away.


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